A lot has been made about Netflix’s fall slate of awards-contending films. Primarily, films like “Roma,” “Bird Box,” and “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” are brought up as serious prestige films that could make noise during awards season. But let’s not sleep on the Cannes award-winning film “Happy as Lazzaro.”
Netflix released the first trailer for “Happy as Lazzaro,” which debuted to critical acclaim earlier this year at the Cannes Film Festival, winning the Best Screenplay honors. The film follows the titular young man as he works and lives among the people on an estate known as Inviolata. But then, as you will no doubt see in the film, time and space sort of fade away as Lazzaro’s actions seem to defy the laws of physics and time. Make no mistake, “Happy as Lazzaro” fits firmly into the genre of fable.
‘Lazzaro’ comes from writer-director Alice Rohrwacher. The Italian filmmaker doesn’t have a massive filmography, with “Happy as Lazzaro” being only her third narrative feature film, but she has already made waves as one of the biggest names in international cinema. Her previous two films both were selected for Cannes and she’s gone on to receive numerous awards and nominations throughout the years.
Many are predicting that “Happy as Lazzaro” could be a contender in this year’s awards season, serving as a bit of a foreign-language darkhorse behind the powerhouse that is “Roma.” Audiences will be able to see for themselves, as “Happy as Lazaaro” hits select theaters and Netflix on November 30.
Here’s the synopsis:
In the transfiguring and transfixing third feature from Alice Rohrwacher (The Wonders), we find ourselves amid a throng of tobacco farmers living in a state of extreme deprivation on an estate known as Inviolata, with wide-eyed teenager Lazzaro (nonprofessional discovery Adriano Tardiolo) emerging as a focal point. Although this all seems to be taking place at some point in the past (as implied by the warm grain of Hélène Louvart’s 16mm cinematography), a stunning mid-movie leap vaults the narrative squarely into the present day and into the realm of parable. In a fable touching on perennial class struggle with Christian overtones, Rohrwacher summons the spirit of Pasolini, while also nodding to Ermanno Olmi and Visconti.